Duck, Cover, and Mask Up.

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For the better part of 70 years, the only advice the government offered to people under immediate threat of nuclear violence was “duck and cover.” Generations of schoolchildren were led to believe that if they just got under their desks fast enough, they might well survive to experience nuclear winter. Thankfully, we finally have an update which brings nuclear preparedness in line with 2020s sensibilities. Just a few days ago, the federal government updated its nuclear strike guidance on ready.gov, a website that an unseen technocrat assures us is an official website of the United States government. Given the quality of the advice therein offered, it’s hard to see how anyone would doubt its pedigree.

Neither “Putin” nor “Russia” appears anywhere on the page, but it doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines. That said, it looks like geniuses are in short supply in Washington, DC. Again. 

The instructions start on relatively safe, if obvious grounds. “Nuclear explosions can cause significant damage and casualties from blast, heat, and radiation,” we learn. Alas, it’s all downhill from there.

There are things we can do, we are told, to keep ourselves and our families safe. But first, we are warned, “A nuclear explosion may occur with or without a few minutes warning.” After this pearl of wisdom we are advised to get inside, and stay inside.

And once we are inside?

Stay inside for 24 hours unless local authorities provide other instructions. Continue to practice social distancing by wearing a mask and by keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who not (sic) part of your household.

So yes. If you happen to be among the lucky few not vaporized in a nuclear strike launched by unknown perpetrators, you should immediately reestablish your fear of Covid-19, the virus of unknown origin.

In the words of David Byrne, “Same as it ever was.”

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